New Thomastik Dominant PRO strings
Thoughts... Anyone already tried?
40% more pricey, the only advantage would be being slightly cheaper than Pi with a bit less tension. Dominant medium or light would be more practical. Even if money wasn't a consideration, the marketing is pretentious: "Dominant PRO", as if they were a step up for professionals from Dominant, or as if Dominant were not good enough for pros. They also have too much competition from their own lines, from Pi to Rondo, to the other non-Pi, non-Rondo they also only sell at dealers (forgot name.) Some soloists and professionals still use their older "better than Dominant" strings (Titanium Solo, Solo, Infeld Blue, etc.) They make good synthetics in general, but as of late I feel there are too many "much of the same" feel to the latest synthetics, with a few notable exceptions from some brands.
Dominant medium are the only Dominant, if you get what I mean. Most new strings don't have gauges anymore, the entire Vision line, PIs... gauges change the tone and feel of the strings, 3 having the same name doesn't make much sense. If you want a different tone with more or less tension, you look for other sets, I think that makes more sense.
I played only Dominants only for years, then switched to some 'pricier' strings, most from Thomastik. I recently picked up some Dominants on a sale, and playing on them was like coming home. Felt a lot easier to get different tone colors and intonation seemed clearer. I attributed it to the familiarity, but not really sure if they're even better to a listener. I don't think I'll switch again, though.
Tom, I totally get it, Dominants are thicker and softer, it's harder to play on thinner and more tense strings (Vision line, PI...). I feel the same as you, about coming home, about Obligato, used them for years. Now I'm using Evah Pirazzi Gold because they sound and respond better but feel similar under the fingers, they're thick and soft. Not using Thoamstik strings again, unless these new Dominant Pro are really great and of course, not thinner than the original Dominant.
I disagree with Mr. Duarte about tensions. Medium is just easier to package and sell for a company. Gauges are inconvenient to a business, but convenient for a number of players and violins. Even 2 choices of gauges are better than no choice. True Dominants are either the heavy, medium, or light gauge. The reason I believe a true Dominant sequel should have gauges is because the original had them-and still do. Nothing personal. My last light gauge Domimant set with aluminum D (therefore, not "thin") were really wonderful to play on, and had quite a good, lively tone which was "very Dominant", for lack of a better term.
Bizarrely, the stringing on my Breton is, from G to E, Dominant med, Dominant med, Dominant light, Hill.
So why are you using it?
Because it came with the violin, and I can't afford to throw a set of strings away. When they wear out, I'll put some ootb Dominants on it.
I was sort of laughing at the PRO part. Does this mean if I try to use them disaster will ensue, such as my violin exploding? Or will they sense my beginnerishness and refuse to vibrate?
I was hoping people with experience on these might chime in, rather than hypotheticals. I am curious how they compare to Rondos as well, which seem to be marketed as a long-lasting string with more power than regular Dominants, but less so that PIs.
Violinist Cristian Fatu has a video playing them on his YouTube channel:
After listening to the video and reading the description, I really have no idea how they compare to, say, Infeld Blues or the TI strings.
Please don't dismiss a string because of its name! Pro hasn't meant "For Professionals" in products for a few years now. It just means "extra". Compare the branding with all the Shampoos and skincare products (for decades) and Phones and Headphones (for a few years).
After listening to a bit more info in another video, I realized these are also perlon core, so should be similar in feel if not entirely on sound to the old Dominant. Perhaps they tried their best to get a "better" nylon sound, so in that regard, the Dominant moniker makes more sense (if not the PRO denomination.)
Interestingly enough, Sharmusic has them as well for pre-order, but its offering them with different choices of E strings like many shops do for the original dominants. Are they prematurely assuming people won't like the E string in this new set, or do they already know something based on the small portion of people who have tried them so far, soloists and shop owners alike?
It may be that some players are married to their favorite Es, so they are expecting a similar trend as you have suggested, even if the set's E is pretty good. Many players use Goldbrokat or Jargar Forte (et al) with *any* new set they try. When I used EP, I never used the silvery steel E, for instance.
Will post my observations here when they are out publicly in March! The name certainly has an expectation to live up to.
Available for pre-order, and I can't yet find them on Thomastik's website. Thomas says that they are out in March.
Yes, from the sites I've seen them on (Sharmusic, Concordmusic, and Fiddlershop), they all say the strings are available for pre-order and will be shipped some time in March.
It will be interesting to see how they hold up. With the two videos, they appear to offer some of the best of the Dominant and PIs. But that doesn't mean they will offer as much as some other choices.
I see Infeld Blue, TI, PI, and Rondo all compared with Dominant!
They sound great to me. Nice playing in that video.
The regular Dominant were already more expensive than the equivalent nylon-core competition, and I won't buy anything more expensive Pirastro Gold label gut-core, so I will skip this one.
I wonder if they considered "Dominant Gold", or even "Dominant Platinum" if the platinum-plated E is part of the setup. Either would avoid the use of "PRO", which is rapidly becoming a weak and almost meaningless descriptive in many areas of trade.
aren't almost all synthetic core strings some kind of nylon??
Perlon, a material commonly used in synthetic strings, is a nylon product, also known as Nylon 6. It differs from other nylon strands because of a different construction process.
Lyndon, yes, Perlon is poycaprolactam, nylon 6. Nylon 66 is also sometimes used. But the big differences in the strings are in the way the core filaments are wound, woven, or otherwise packed into the core, which affects the softness and tone. The relative softness of Dominant strings is due to both the use of nylon 6 and the way the filaments are used.
Thought I'd bring some new news to the thread. Thomastik Dominant Pro strings will have other variants of strings. There will be 4 E strings, 2 A strings, 2 D strings, and 1 G string. The reason we didn't know about them is because the set that is releasing in March is the set with Tin (DP01) E, Aluminum A, Silver D, and Silver G, but the other variants will be released later this year in July.
Hello everyone, just got this in my inbox:
Reading the maker's descriptions of their strings is a bit like reading wine labels : pretentious nonsense !
@Brian, you nailed it, LOL. My business has been distributing strings in Italy since 1988, and each time a new string came out we had to translate the manufacturer's description into Italian for newsletters.
Just got my e-mail from Johnson's-- they are taking pre-arrival orders.
The bells, the bells!
To follow Brian's parallel above, it sounds like pre-ordering the upcoming Beaujolais Nouveau. There is always a rush to get the very first bottles so you can show off to your friends that you are no slouch.
I am not their target audience, but I would likely test them if I was a Pi fan, because the ultimate price will be similar, as are the string options. Indeed it appears to be a Pi clone, but with a perlon core-and no available gauges for both lines. At least they do offer some choices for the player (Aluminum D, steel A, etc.) Pi users should be intrigued about the difference between Pi and D-Pro.
As a manufacturer I fail to see how Tonicas can retail at $38 (Shar) and Dominant Pros for over double, when the basic materials and method of manufacture are similar.
So it's basically PI with slightly warmer tone, and hopefully larger diameter!... If anyone finds any information regarding the string diameter/thickness, please post. But looking at the video it already seems that the G string is too thin compared to the D and A. Yuck.
Dmitri, also to be considered as a significant proportion of the end price to the consumer is the cost of the R&D that has presumably gone into Dominant PRO, and, possibly following on from that, the cost of trade mark protection, and the (much greater) cost of world-wide patent protection if something patentably novel and non-obvious in the product and/or manufacturing process arose out of the R&D.
Tonicas at $35 ! We can only dream of that in Australia : $86 is a good price in this country. Surely postage and the exchange rate cannot account for such a large difference ?
I am wondering if this isn't so much a competitor to the PI, but a more mainstream version of the Rondo, which is quite a different beast from PI. We will presumably know more by the time the weather is warm.
I do not think the D-Pros compete well with Rondos, not just because of the likely sound and feel difference due to perlon, but due to price. I am not sure what is the cost of a Rondo set, but it likely is not $99.00. Hard to imagine they want to discontinue their Rondo deals with luthiers in favor of the D-Pro line (do not mean to be contrarian.)
Rondos go for $109.95 at Connolly music, so the Dominant Pros are actually slightly cheaper even with the price mark up that will happen later this year. Stephen's point about the D-Pros possibly being a more mainstream version of the Rondos did cross my mind. If they end up being similar in sound and feel at a lower price and more available to the public since you can get them at more places than just the US distributor (Connolly music) or a brick and mortar store I could see these new strings going quite far. Only time will tell.
Trevor, I think that Thomastik had paid all the same costs when they presented Dominant. But perhaps amortization allows them to sell them cheaper in comparison now.
I am personally deeply curious about D Pros vs. Rondos. The Rondos are a great string.
My wife and I use Rondo all the time on our violins now, and we've never paid over a hundred dollars for a set from our luthier. Rondo and Timbre cost roughly the same from the shops where we buy them.
I think it all depends on the "flavor" of one's violin. Warchal Timbre strings are the best ever on two of my violins (in fact the only reason I play them again after owning them for 20 and 50 years respectively). The other two of my violins lost most of their sound when I tried Timbre or Amber strings but absolutely shine with Evah Pirazzi Gold topped with a PI Pt E string.
I am a fan of Warchal strings, and Timbres are relatively nice on my violin, but I really like Rondos on my violin, and they have excellent longevity (so a much better deal budgetwise than, say, Evah Pirazzi green or gold).
Then Connolly Music gave Mr. Harvey an inflated price, or an MSRP "street price" no one ever uses in modern times. (Or they are sold at higher prices online to force players to go the shop.) I have never ordered direct from Connolly-I see them as a supplier more than an online seller. It is good to know the luthier price is not that high, and more akin to Timbres.
Lydia Leong, "I own a lovely violin that doesn't need to be overdriven by high-tension strings, or any tonal modulation for more brilliance.", you do know that Rondos are higher tension than Evah Pirazzi, right? Or at least the same.
I suppose it depends on who is selling them. When I tried them I bought them at a violin shop instead of Connolly music for $85.52. Since then I've changed luthiers since my last one left the shop and the person that remained there was, how should I say this, "not violin-making inclined." The luthier I have now doesn't carry them and another shop I asked sold them at $112.46 including tax which is still over $100 without tax and more expensive than Connolly music as they don't charge tax (at least when I checked).
It is horrible, and an likely unintended effect of the popularity of the strings and its unique way of being sold. That is the kind of thing that used to be the norm in the era pre internet sales. While I do *not* mind paying a bit extra to a violin shop for the mere fact of the convenience factor (I honestly hate buying online if I can get the same product on a physical store-barring extreme pandemic cases of course), 85 to 112 is a big jump. Even in the old days, I would consider it "wrong" and not buy from any shop that would overcharge.
Rondos have similar tension to EP Golds (according to the charts), but using EPGs on my violin requires a delicate balance of adjustment to deal with the higher tension. For whatever reason, the Rondos don't seem to require that.
If David Duarte’s numbers are right, the standard Rondo set is almost the same as Evah in tension. The real difference comes if you use the chrome A and/or E. I haven’t used the chrome A much and never use the E string. Thus, using Rondo with the aluminum A and a Goldbrokat E, the overall tension is not higher than Evah and the sound is vastly improved.
Rondo are higher tension than Evah Pirazzi Green. They may feel better or not under the fingers, but that doesn't mean the tension is not there. The numbers are here:
Hmmm... maybe why I don't like their E string. Take that away and use the aluminum A string, and you're on pretty similar ground.
Rondos last longer than the Evah Pirazzi Green and feel better under the fingers, for me personally.
The tension is higher if you use the chrome A and the E string, but there’s no point in using their E. A set with the regular G, D, and A will be equal to the Evah numbers. If you’re worried about the tension, though, try the TI strings instead.
The aluminium A is also higher than Evah Pirazzi.
To be fair EP Green mittel/Gold, Pi, and Rondo are "high tension" for my needs. Even Timbre. I am sure I could use all of them, but I am too old for peer pressure to affect me. Nothing wrong with these popular and good strings, it is just that I compare them to older, still effective tech, and I do not prefer them. I see the new as an alternative, rather than necessarily better.
EP Gold are just a little bit over Obligato in terms of tension, not much, they don't feel high tension, they feel soft and they respond a lot better than PI for me. They're also larger in diameter, which is also decisive imo. The sound is beautiful. Too bad they allegedly don't last as long, but even if they later loose their "edge", it doesn't mean they become bad strings, especially if you don't have important performances coming. For me it's totally worth it. The E-string is also very nice, sounds lovely and almost doesn't whistle, great tension, not too much, not too low, just a little bit over the Gold Label. Perfect set. I'm glad I've decided to try them despite the price and durability comments online.
Related to the official promo video linked above by Mr. Duarte, why is a "darker, more focused tone" the equal of "better"? Also, while these terms are being used by many other brands just as well, isn't a focused tone inherently less dark? Or is it as with the EP Green "dark", where there are lots of boomy frequencies, followed by hollowed mids, and an airy uppermost frequency range?
Adalberto, you might enjoy this link (already shared above, but pasting again because it's interesting) - it has some interesting commentary about the development and user preferences for the original Dominant strings.
GoStrings have updated their "Viennese Mélange":
Does this combo coincide with Go strings getting some bargains on individual strings in bulk??
I ended up with a pretty similar combo once upon a time when I experimented with the Infelds. Infeld Red A and G, blue D, plus a different E string. The choices don't surprise me.
I think “Viennese Melange” has actually been around almost as long as Infeld Red and Blue have been.
Update: we just got our first shipment of Dominant PRO. My first impression? The packaging alone must cost the company $10 a set. Really.
What do you expect? These are Pro strings, the package must be expensive, unlike all the other amateur strings.
I'm waiting for the straight-pack bulk versions to appear :-)
We just got a dozen sets to try out this morning. I put on a violin and found them to be quite pleasant to play. I can see what they mean about being in between Dominant and PI—a bit more focus, but warmer than PI. It’s nice to have them as an option.
So you didn't even try the E?
Why didn't you try the E? Inquiring minds want to know...
It's probably a shop custom-the "new" D-Pro Es should be the same quality (if not the same) as with the Pis. It could be that Mr. Maxham prefers the medium Gold Label E even over the "new" tin plated Pi E, the latter which is a bit higher tension in "medium". To be fair to Mr. Maxham, I would also switch the E to one of my favorites, but not because the D-PRO E is bad. The Gold Label E is mighty fine on its own, and matches well with many gut and synthetics sets. He may prefer it as his shop's general E sound, as he sets up many instruments with it, and may also do the same with Rondos and Tis if he sells them.
i just tried them - they are an excellent set. BUT as my only problem with the original Dominants was the A string which « shouts » a tad too much. I tried mixing original G and D Dominants with an A Dominant Pro and it blends rather beautifully, I think.
There are a couple reasons why we didn’t use the Pro E:
I got a notice from swstrings that my pre-order set has been shipped. Should be here Monday, but could come early. Swstrings is usually pretty quick in my experience. I have a set of dominants and a set of PIs as well on stand-by to compare.
Rondos have a lot more tension than Dominant Pro, so you would expect more punch.
Update: the Pirastro Perpetual E string blends *really well* with the Dominant Pros. But in testing all this, I am amazed how good the Thomastik Special Gold Plated E string, which is still battling for the first place (I thinl they both beath the Usual Pirastro Gold E), The Thomastik Gold plated E has a beautiful shimmer (not expected by me, thought it was going to be just « warm ») which makes it very singing and juici but never aggressive.
Given how much noise has been made (parturiunt montes), if the PROs need a separate E string, then Thomastik can go back to the drawing board, IMO.
It's not true that Thomastik has been trying to make a good E string for decades without success. The Vision Titanium Solo E, Vision Titanium Orchestra E, and the peter Infeld Platinum E are well known for being some of the best E strings on the market.
Did Thomastik consult professional players when designing these strings? I'm curious why they call it "Pro" but I'm thinking it might have to do with that. Maybe they were beta tested with a group of players (soloists, orchestra musicians, luthiers).
Most strings are beta tested by pros and others. PRO is simply a marketing scheme. Bet Pi were, and even regular Dominant back in the day, when famous pros first started using them.
Bill Weaver told me he tried the E on a violin he set up last evening. He took it off and put a Goldbrokat E on instead. When I asked what he thought of the E, he said this and suggested I post it:
I also love the Goldbrokat and Gold Label in medium, but also love Oliv and Hill Es. When I used heavy Es, my favorite was the Westminster or Oliv Stark vs the ubiquitous Jargar. I no longer have such a need. I find the other strings to speak more clearly throughout its range in mittel, with a better feel under the fingers, a brighter/clearer G string register, and more clarity/openness overall with all the other strings. With my current Eudoxas, I am using a Gold Label equivalent (the Eudoxa plain steel version-it is the same string.)
My post wasn't 100% serious.